Farron steps up campaign to electrify Lakes line
Cumbrian MP, Tim Farron, has today met with the Managing Director of First TransPennine Express, Nick Donovan, in his bid to win the electrification of the Lakes Line and the Furness Line.
Plans to electrify routes around Manchester to create a "hub" ensuring an hourly service from the city to Preston, Carlisle and Scotland were announced in July. However, direct services to the Lakes line and Furness lines in Cumbria were at risk of being cut completely.
Following a local campaign some direct services along the Lakes Line and the Furness Line have been saved, however with the plans to electrify the route from Manchester to Glasgow; these services remain at risk in the future unless the lines are electrified.
Sources from the Department of Transport confirmed to Tim that while electrification of these two lines were not currently on the books, strong support for electrification from the current operators - First Group - would play a significant role in making electrification reality.
At the meeting Nick Donovan from First Group, agreed to look into the possibility of FirstGroup supporting the proposals.
Commenting after the meeting Tim said: "Thousands of local residents have already expressed their concern over the future of the Lakes Line and the Furness Line by signing the 'Cumbria Better Connected' petition launched by myself and Barrow MP John Woodcock; and many in the tourism industry have raised their concerns directly with the Government and rail operators.
"The meeting with Nick Donovan was very useful and I hope it will bring about fresh support for electrification. Electrification of the lines would make economic, financial and environmental sense as well as help to ensure that the direct link between Windermere and Manchester Airport, and the Cartmel peninsula and Manchester Airport, are protected."